I learned so much from talking with Aboriginal Elders. Many of my insights were inspired by such conversation.
When talking about stories, how were they used to convey the message, the laws, the history, I said that were I come from stories are something you say to entertain people and if you wanted to learn something you took a textbook. I still remember is surprised and sadden face of the Elder. I also asked why did the Aboriginal stories change, as some people say that they heard different stories or different versions of the stories.
The response I got was: No, the stories are the same; we only add more details depending on initiation of the listener.
I contemplated this answer, and the story of Adam and Eve came to mind. I used to get upset why did the story change, why was I not told the full story from the beginning.
First time I heard it I was about 7 years old. And in summary it went like this:
“God created Adam and Eve and this beautiful place for them called Eden. They could live there forever in happiness and fulfilment; it provided them with what they needed, they could do whatever they wanted, except for eating a fruit from the forbidden tree. However, they did not listen and ate one fruit. God got very angry and threw them out of Eden.
I must admit when I heard this story, I felt so reliefed that my parents were not like God. I just ate a cookie before dinner (and they told me not to do it). The thought that if they were like God they would threw me out of the house was terrifying. I could not understand why God that was supposed to be all loving and all mighty, could be so cruel. If he did not want Adam and Eve to eat that fruit, why did he put it in Eden?
I understood the message as: You should listen to you parents, as the consequences could be terrifying.
Next time I heard this story a detail was added. This was the tree of knowledge. Again, I could not understand why God did not want people to be knowledgeable. It came clearer when I heard the song Epitaph by King Crimson with the words: “Knowledge is a deadly friend when no one sets the rules”. That was my new understanding of the same story.
The third version of the story of Adam and Eve added the final detail, it was the tree of knowledge of good and evil and thought that God just did not want them to know it, he wanted to be superior.
It is after the conversation with Aboriginal Elders, I got it, like a breakthrough, I reconciled the story with the concept of a loving, forgiving God.
Eating the fruit from the tree of Good and Evil made Adam and Eve started to pass judgements on themselves and everything around the. Separating everything into good and bad, right and wrong, unable to see the wholeness. At that moment they could not stay in a place of happiness and fulfilment.
God did not throw them out, they just could not stay. Once you separate things and pass judgments you create suffering and you destroy your Eden.
This story warns people that by passing judgment they are destroying their Eden their place of happiness.
And it is not the only place in the bible that tells us not to judge.
Let me just quote one. Form Luke 6:37
“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.”
Just imagine what a beautiful world we would live in if most people would follow the teaching from the Bible. Why with so many Christians and most powerful governments claiming they are based on Christian values these values are not upheld. On the contrary judgement, condemnation and no forgiveness is the common position.